CALL US TODAY! (941) 926.2300 Like us on Facebook Like Subscribe to receive Specials Subscribe Read our Blog Blog

Sarasota Dermatology Blog

Beware of Skin Cancer  It May Sneak up on You!

Beware of Skin Cancer It May Sneak up on You!

Posted on 12. May, 2010 by in Melanoma, Mohs Surgery, Moles, Skin Cancer, Skin Care, Skin Conditions, Various

May signifies the beginning of national skin cancer awareness month. There are over one million people diagnosed with some form of skin cancer yearly. This number is not expected to decline anytime soon.  In fact, skin cancer is one of the most common cancers.  It is neither gender nor age specific.  It is however, one of the most preventable cancers as more than 90% of the cases are due to excessive exposure to the sun. 

 There are three common skin cancers. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the two most common. They are found in the upper layers of the skin.  They are highly preventable and highly curable although they can be disfiguring if left too long.   The third most serious skin cancer is Melanoma.  It too can be curable when caught early, but has the potential to be deadly when not.  Some melanomas are found in the upper layers of the skin, but many are more invasive and found in deeper layers.

 No one is immune from getting a skin cancer, though some are at greater risk. Those who are at a greater risk are:

  • Individuals with a lighter skin tone.
  • Individuals who have had a history of skin cancer.
  • Individuals who have a family member with a history of skin cancer.
  • Individuals who work or play sports outside.
  • Individuals with a history of sunburns early in life.
  • Individuals whose hobbies are outside.
  • Individuals whose skin freckles, burns, or becomes red and painful in the sun.
  • Individuals with blue or green eyes.
  • Individuals with blond or red hair.

 You should examine your skin regularly for any suspicious spots.  Especially those that continue to grow, change in color or shape.  An annual skin examination by a licensed Dermatologist is also recommended.

 How do we examine our skin?

  • A mirror or mirrors will be helpful as there are areas that are not easily visible.  Such as your back area.
  • Starting with your head. Examine entire face. Include eyes, ears, nose and lips.
  • Next check your neck, shoulders, abdomen and chest.  If you are female you may need to lift your breasts.
  • Examine your fingers, hands, arms, nail beds and under your arms. Be sure to check between fingers and toes.
  • The mirrors will not help you to examine your entire back, neck, buttocks, genital area.
  • Examine the front and back of your legs, shins, ankles, toes and soles of your feet.
  • Finally, part you hair in small sections and examine the scalp.

 What to look for:

  • Any new growths or sores that bleed or do not heal after 2 to 3 months
  • An irregularly colored spot whose border extends into surrounding skin 
  • A growth that has a change in sensation — itchiness, tenderness, or pain
  • A mole whose surface starts to scale, bleed or both.
  • The appearance of a nodule or bump that may or may not grow rapidly

 Simple things we can do to protect our skin:

  • Use of sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 30 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection. Put it on before leaving the house. Reapply frequently. 
  • Wear clothing that protects exposed skin. Loose fitting clothing or beach cover-up.
  • Wear a hat that covers face, neck and ears.  A canvas hat, works best. Avoid a baseball hat as it doesn’t provide protection for the skin on your neck or ears.  
  • Wear sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays. This will help prevent cataracts in the future.
  • During midday stay in shaded areas, avoiding midday sun. An umbrella or a shade tree can provide much needed shade.

 Most of us came to Florida to enjoy the tropical paradise.  Enjoy it safely by proper skin protection and yearly visits to your dermatologist.

Leave a Reply